Leadership and vision
This morning I’m grateful to the mighty one to be here and to fellowship with you. I want to throw some light on Vision 2023. That is what is going to drive the church of Pentecost in the next few years. Last year when Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah was leaving the scene and we prayed that God should grant us a new leader, God heard us and granted us a new leader. God gives a leader for many reasons. I don’t think he chooses the best one otherwise he wouldn’t have chosen me. God has something he has deposited in each and every one of us. At any particular time, depending on what he wants to do, he looks among us and finds the one in whom he has deposited that thing. It is God who works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. You may not appreciate it very much when we say God is leading us. Israel did not appreciate God’s leadership so they asked for a king. God will give a church or any group a leader but he God is still the owner and master of the church. When he gives us a leader he will stir up what he has put in the heart of the leader as a vision. This is not the kind of vision you close your eyes and see but something to guide the church.
Vision 2023 is the vision for the church from 2018 to 2023. The theme for the vision is “Possessing the nations,” that is, equipping the church to transform every sphere of society with values and principles of the kingdom of God; or equipping the church to transform the nations. We all operate in one sphere or the other. When we equip the church and everybody goes to his sphere we will be able to transform our nations. The slogan is, “Possessing the nations: I am an agent of transformation.” It helps us keep the theme in focus.
Who is an agent?
An agent is one who has been sent for a purpose. Jesus said the Father had sent him and that he would go back. He meant he was here for a purpose. For those of us who are born again, when we go to our spheres or workplaces, let us remember we are branches of the true vine. Transformation is to bring a change that is so much unlike what was before. It is like introducing yeast in flour. Wherever you are you must bring a change. Our overall goal for Vision 2023 is a church were members go to possess their nations or spheres by transforming every worldview, thought, and behavior with values, principles, and lifestyles of the kingdom of God, thereby turning many people to Christ.
Why it is important to discuss the vision
Why are we spending time on Vision 2023? We want all of us to come on board. One person cannot build the church. The church having 2.7 million members in Ghana means one out of every nine Ghanaians is a member of the CoP.
On a good day like this, I won’t be surprised that some ministers will pour water on the floor and ask people to walk through to receive the anointing. There are so many billboards advertising churches but there is no transformation, that is the frustration motivating the theme. It is the pulpit that makes the pew.
Some of us like to say these things don’t matter. However, because the world belongs to someone, everything we do matters and because the church is bought by the blood of someone, he is interested in everything we do. There is a song that says to look and live. We need to look into the scripture and live. It is our rule. We need to refocus our churches.
I went to Nyankpala, UDS, to preach. There was a block with classrooms both up and down. All of them were filled with different denominations and all of them were using loudspeakers. It was difficult to preach because as you were preaching some would be singing praises. We are saturated with churches but look at our nation.
The spirit behind the possessing the nations agenda
The spirit behind the possessing the nations agenda is this:
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. (Proverbs 14.34 NIV)
It isn’t the abundance of churches that builds nations. So, we can have many churches but if there is no righteousness emanating from them into the land, they will not be effective. This nation is not feeling the presence of Christians.
The main text to this possessing the nations agenda is Ephesians 3.10:
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, (NIV)
Deuteronomy 7.5-6 says,
This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. (NIV)
Does this scripture sound familiar?
1 Peter 2.9 says,
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that You may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (NIV)
Peter lifted that scripture when he wanted to talk about the New Testament church. Just as Israel was a chosen people, we are a chosen people. How do we declare his praises? We do it in our spheres.
Galatians 6.15-16 says,
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. (NIV)
This means there is a new order; the church replaces Israel as a people. It is the Israel of God.
Deuteronomy 4.5-6 says,
See I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” (NIV)
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, (Ephesians 3.10 NIV)
That God is doing these through the church means the church is not an end in itself. The church is just a channel. So when you come to church, you receive from God as a priest and then you go out there and lead your people. In the past he said it will be your wisdom and understanding to the nations but now he says God will manifest his wisdom to the principalities and powers.
God wants to be lord of all
These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your god directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, (Deuteronomy 6.1 NIV)
The devil is happy sharing the seat with God but God is not interested in that. He is either the lord of lords or not the lord at all.
When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations… (Deuteronomy 7.1 NIV)
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. (Deuteronomy 8.1 NIV)
The agenda of God for Israel was to possess. So when we say we want to possess the nations, we are continuing from where Israel left off.
We can do it because God is with us
See Deuteronomy 9.1-3.
I am confident that we can possess this nation but I can’t do it alone. I need your support. That is why I want you to understand what we are driving at. Why am I confident that we can?
One reason is because of our strength as a church. We have the numbers, like I said, and I also believe that God is with us. God has lifted this church and you can’t talk about churches in this county without mentioning the Church of Pentecost. But for our simplicity, we would have been showing our faces everywhere but that is not what they taught us so as he blesses us we want to remain simple.
I believe that this is the time to lead the agenda of the churches. Let us not take this for granted. Let us rise and take the lead among the churches.
Our strategy going forward
Every year we will draw a theme from the overarching them. This will help us get closer to it or explain it better. So, the first one, which was for 2019 was, “I will build my church.” It was to lift what Jesus said and to give it some understanding that the church is not an end in itself. He has called us to himself but has sent us back into the world. God lives in you.
What is the use of coming here and lifting your hands and going back home, still with this girlfriend and still beating your wife? Why did you come? This is hypocrisy to the highest order. What is the use if you go back and as a trader and cheat and say it is business? We don’t have to sperate the sacred from the secular. Worship is not about lifting your hands or bowing but serving. Unfortunately, when we bring the theme people don’t preach on them. Ask yourself, do I love God? I am a Christian? What are the things that I do that don’t please him? Don’t be a pretender.
One 31st night, after we had finished the service, this woman came to me and shook my hands and said, “Sɔfo, woama me kunu afa ne ho adi,’ to wit, “Pastor, you’ve left my husband off the hook!” Why? She said her husband had angered her so much before the service that she had decided to deal with him when she got home after the service but the message had changed her mind. We should not practice that kind of Christianity. God is spirit and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth so don’t box him in this house. Anything that is not whole, he does not like it. When we build people like this will we shake the foundation of corruption and change this land.
You don’t love God if you don’t do what he says. The Bible says anyone who wants to live a godly life will face persecution. We want to raise an army of Christians who will go against the current and change the tide.
Theme for 2020
The theme for 2020 is, “A glorious church to possess the nations.” (Ephesians 3.21, 5.27)
Because we have to witness to the world and they are also watching, if we are not glorious, our testimony will not be accepted by the world. The theme was taken from the scripture were Paul prayed for the church for God’s glory to be in it from generation to generation. Christ’s aim is to present the church to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish—a church that is holy and blameless.
Some of the topics we will be treating are these:
1. A glorious church to possess the nations
2. The church: called to a holy living
3. Living a life of integrity as a Christian
4. The Christian and the lordship of Christ
5. Possessing the nations through prayer (intercessory prayer)
6. Possessing the nations through personal evangelism
7. Raising godly children to possess the nations
8. The power and beauty of Christian fellowship
9. I am an agent of transformation
10. Secular humanism
What is the strategic approach?
1. We need to equip members of the church with the required resources
a. We want to look at the local church and make sure God meets us there
b. We want to be intentional with discipleship
2. Strengthening and realigning existing institutions and structures to propel the agenda
a. Reorganizing our ministries
b. Gospel Sunday
c. Bible study to be done after worship so that at least 80% of the members are present
d. Home and urban missions, focusing on foreigners living in our land as well as those who have left the hinterlands to the cities
e. Ministry to persons with disability
f. Chaplaincy; having dedicated persons in various offices and professions ministering to peculiar needs of their colleagues
g. Counseling units
i. The merging of PUC and PTS
j. Workers’ guilds
k. PENSA International; young persons set around the regions of the globe to setup PENSA where there is no PENSA outside Ghana and to do missions work around the world
3. Transforming society
a. Deploy members as agents of transformation in the communities where they will lend support where needed. If there is a challenge in the community, lend support. Don’t wait for the president
b. Environmental campaigns, cleaning gutters
c. Bus stop shelters, people want to see Jesus in town
d. Church-government partnership e.g. sinking boreholes in some parts of the Central and Northern regions. We have done about 29 of them already
e. CHPS compounds in the hinterlands; one is ongoing beyond Bawku
f. Police stations, one at Akropong Akuapem and also at other places
I want to challenge you to do something for the poor. May God help this vision to come to pass and for it to bring transformation to the nation.